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Subject: Sound Quality Check
Just so there is no confusion on this one, and there shouldn't be because an all around monster like this deserves to be listened to from the best possible source... THIS, is the absolute best source. 102750 is also very good, a touch brighter, but Charlie definitely did well when he touched up this one.
As far as the show, Dark Star, IGNORE ANY AND ALL EVEN REMOTELY NEGATIVE REVIEWS, THEY COME FROM PEOPLE WHO HAVE YET TO BREAK THROUGH. It isn't meandering w/ cool feedback, and Phil is most definitely at the top of his game. Here Comes Sunshine is also a huge highlight here. I usually do song by song reviews but that isn't necessary here.
That said, don't just come for the Dark Star> Eyes> Stella. It isn't as though inspiration just happened to touch down for about an hour in the middle of the evening this night. This entire show smokes start to end. Jerry is vibrant and carefully aggressive all night. Phil is in full throated, "Yea I Can Make This Bass Go Boom!" mode, Billy is on fire, so is Keith, so is Bobby, oh and Donna is out for the night as well. Five stars FTW!
Subject: It is deserving of 5 stars
Just a great period for the band. The first set is not the best I've ever heard, but they are in such a great space nonetheless. Seems some people discount the Dark Star...I don't get that. It's wayyyy out there. Testicle shaking Phil-tronics at their finest. Real improvisational stuff. Great version. As noted, Keith is really amazing throughout. The interplay between him and Jerry over this 2 year span is one of the reasons I consider this the true golden era for them. I think the Eyes and Stella Blue are also fabulous.
Thanks to Charlie Miller for the remaster of this pretty famous show...
Set 1 - ....alas, the first set sounds like the band is on absolute cruise control - with the exception of a perk-me-up China Cat > Rider, they really don't have a lot going on here. Just sounds sort of bare, way too much negative space within the songs.
Set 2 - things start to come around with Rose, and Here Comes Sunshine takes on a real floodwater journey....the Dark Star (or, rather, Jam > Space > Dark Star) is extraordinary. If you like Phil, seek no further - this is mind-melt music for those real astral-nauts, heavy beam-ax-split-the-timber bass drone - I think the two movements, pre-and-post verse, are absolutely sublime examples of the Dead at their most fearlessly experimental. The band never very often utilized 'drone' tones ala Floyd; here, they give into that temptation and ride the wave out way, waaaaaay beyond ordinary boundaries.
So, a really sleepy and forgettable first set (but save that CC>R), and a second set built entirely around that 45 minutes of searing, crashing ashes...the rest of the set is good enough to make it an overall keeper.
Subject: Have to hear Dark Star
T. C. was once quoted saying something like "you don't play Dark Star you enter it". This may be the perfect example.
This show is really good - start to finish. Plenty of highlights typical of '73 (They Love Each Other, China Cat> Rider, Here Comes Sunshine, Big River, etc.), but the Dark Star is unique. It starts with a slow simmer of a jam out of tuning, and builds into a high energy jam with lots of great "noise". Almost not a DS, but a jam close to Watkins Glen. Perfect example of "jazzy" Dead.
The 5 stars isn't just for the DS, but it does steal the face right off your head.
Subject: Right on babyblu
you would think it be awesome enough to just have the music available; this version, that version, blues, jazz, rock, exploratory, best ever's. I understand it gives people the opportunity to show how poetic they are, but babyblu is on to something, once the lense gets so magnified that it blinds us from its purest form, then it's time to "refresh" the ears with something else. Let's set it straight, there's no such thing as "Best Ever" or a 10 when it comes to GD music. It's Grateful Dead and that should be statement enough, any other attempt to bottle it is futile.
Thank God for the Grateful Dead! Enjoy
Subject: My favorite Dark Star
Phil and Keith are your captains on a one-way tryp to neverneverland!
There's a certain vein of DeadHead for whom "best" versions of songs seem to be more or less about the degree to which Jerry nails his bits in an epic frenetic jam.
That's all well and good most of the time, but this Dark Star aint about that.
Subject: here comes sunshine and a whole ton of jammin
is there a better one? maybe there are a few good ones from 73 but hey i love this one my personel favorite and the Dark Star is off the hook too the China>Rider doesn't dissappoint either hell just a great show from a great year plus can't beat a Miller soundboard either gotta go with a 5 on this one and i hate to just hand out 5's but this one is well earned damn what i wouldn't give to hear just one more time peace all
Subject: Dark Star definitely not...
over-rated or over-hyped. And this is coming from a guy who favors tighter Dark Stars (the Live Dead version will always be my favorite). This version contains ethereal (as someone else noted) drifting jams, shimmery Rhodes piano, bursts of arpeggiated fretwork, colossal bass tremors, celestial feedback, and some just plain straight ahead jazz.
What stands out about this Dark Star is Keith's playing. I'm a Brent guy through and through. I loved when Brent had a full presence in the band--he created some very productive tension, besides being virtuosic. Keith had the talent to be a very subtle and tasteful jazz-rock accompanist. He wasn't the kind of player to lead a band like the Dead, and too often he was nonexistent, especially in the later '70s. Listening to this Dark Star was one of the first times I've ever heard Keith step out front and push Jerry and maybe Phil musically, at least in terms of improvisational jamming. For Jer and Phil, this is a somewhat average to better than average Dark Star (which is to say, it's genius). What Keith contributes is really unique and at times gorgeous. Definitely essential listening.
Subject: Great show. Dark Star is just aiight
Agree with Jinglebell Rainbow on this Dark Star. this is isn't even one of the top 5 Dark Stars of november-December 1973, nonetheless one of the best ever. it kinda bothers me when just because a jam is really long doesn't necessarily mean it's great. U ever heard the longest HCS or Franklins? Good not great. Now u wanna hear a really long Dark Star that never gets boring and is full of ideas - see 5/4/72. Sorry for the rant, anyways this is a great great show.
Subject: Why is this not famous?
Why have I not heard this one before? Unique, inventive playing and a superb recording that allows you to hear the interplay between each musician to perfection. This is one of those inspired performances that make the Dead great.
Of course, if you like the songs played vanilla, just like the original recorded version, this is not the one for you. But then, I don't know why you'd be listening to this band anyway. Wow, this is great! Just dig it!
Subject: Phil rules the night
If the combination of a 44 minute Dark Star into Eyes doesn't do it for you, then you may need to call your Doctor.
Dark Star has always been about exploration and so was Seastones. This Dark Star here is a bit of a combination.of the 2, but IMHO 100% a DS. Phil is creating some amazing effects and sounds here pre-WOS. There are bombs from him all over the place. Excellent 73 setlist and all well-played. This DS should not just be considered a best-ever because it's 44mins, but also because it's fantastic.
Great show from an even better tour.
Subject: Never the same twice
Gotta go with five stars for this one. Beautiful sound, Mr. Miller - hope those DC budget cuts don't affect your operation. I am a huge fan of 1973 but don't claim the comprehensive knowledge that other reviewers readily demonstrate. Still, this show is worthy of what was really an entire five star year. The HCS certainly could rank as "best ever" - the inventiveness and creativity just leap off Garcia's strings. He takes the existing framework of the song to new heights, then dabbles in uncharted waters of new dimensions and directions. For a snap shot of Garcia, check out the last twenty seconds or so of Around and Around. Not content - never content - to thrash a crescendo of chords as the crowd drowns out the band, Jerry introduces at least three subtle, idiosyncratic flourishes - in what could have been a throw-away moment. I'm not a musician so I can't accurately describe what he does, so listen for yourself. Jerry never ran out of ideas for new places to go and that is what art is all about. Like they say about a great batter in baseball - never wasted an at bat.
Subject: take a break
once you start meticulously scrutinizing the Grateful Dead with a fine-tooth comb, it's time to listen to something else. put on a john coltrane record or something.
Mr. Completely -
Subject: arguable and inarguable genius
The Dark Star I can see as a point of contention and understand how perceptions of it might vary depending on subjective taste. It is extremely abstract and ethereal. It starts off in space and returns there twice in the twenty-five minutes of down- to mid-tempo open jamming before the first verse. Starting around 11' Phil starts dialing in some serious Seastones UFO tones and takes the second half of the pre-verse jam quite deep in a cubist/impressionist style. Then after the verse is several more minutes of deep Seastones abstraction (no Tiger jam this night) before rolling into a nice little melodic improvisational outro section. This kind of thing isn't for everyone, but I love it.
HOWEVER. The brilliance of the China - Rider transition jam and above all the HC Sunshine allow no room for argument or interpretation. Anyone who could listen to and review this show without being staggered by their genius is coming from a place I can't understand and don't care to - and that's by far the nicest way I can think to put it. The HC Sunshine soloing by Jerry isn't merely "the best version ever" (which is is, by orders of magnitude beyond the wonderful 2-23-74 version or any other candidate); it is one of the very finest moments in Garcia's entire career as a guitarist, a true lifetime performance highlight and one of the finest pieces of improvised music you will ever hear in your life.
If you don't grok it, don't come talking smack. Subjective interpretation and matters of taste are all very well but if you don't recognize the Cleveland Sunshine for what it is, you best check yourself and polish up that lens 'cause it just might be cracked.
If you haven't heard it, friends, well, I am excited on your behalf! It really is that good. You're in for a treat. Don't half-ass it! This isn't one to waste as background music at work or something. Get your head really right, turn it up loud and let this show take you places. It will if you let it.
anything less than 23 dark stars on this is ridiculous
http://www.vimeo.com/17169752 thank you jerry et al
Subject: Jinglebell Rainbow
J.R., I've read a few of your reviews, and I think you might need to just forget about the Dead and return to Phish touring.
Jinglebell Rainbow -
Subject: Here Comes Sun Shine
Here Comes Sun Shine is by far and wide the best piece of music this show has to offer. Jerry Rips for extended periods of time,very inspired. After reading the review of Dark Star in the Dead Head taping Compendium I was certain the way the review said this is Phill at his ver very best that I was about to be impressed. Sorry to say the whole thing is over blown hype. This is not even close to Phil at his best. If you like dull sleepy spacy Dark Stars with some cool feedback and a little jamming about 35 minutes into it then it's for you. This thing really never gets off the ground, dull boring attempt Very slow and sleepy. I like laid back jamming from 73 but this is like falling asleep
Subject: Psychoanalysis may be required...
after listening to this Dark Star.
It's a brooding monster. Heavy shit to be sure.
Here Comes Sunshine lives up to it's name as well. Truly a inspired outing by all those involved.
Thank You Cleveland Goodnight!!!!
Subject: Dark Star-one of my favorite versions
This is one of my favorite versions of Dark Star. Although it doesn't start with the signature begining riffs, it is a great jam with a lot of fine work on the electric piano by Keith. I'm not sure they didn't just start up a jam in "A" that just eventually became Dark Star (same key of A) half way through it. Either way it is a great and unique jam.